Charles Stanley – The Lord, Our Shepherd

 

John 10:7-15

In the ancient world, the man who was given charge of the flocks had a challenging job. He had the responsibility of leading the sheep to new pastures and fresh water, defending them from predators, and finding the lost ones when they strayed. But his was a humble job because it was lonely and dangerous. The shepherd lived among the flock and slept across the doorway of the fold to keep the sheep in and the wolves out. This was hard, constant, and thankless work.

Yet Christ sat among His followers and said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11; John 10:14). The modern church misses the impact of those words. We have a rustic but rosy view of Jesus as a shepherd. The sovereign God of the universe humbled Himself and got His hands dirty working directly with beings just as errant, willful, and sometimes dumb as sheep.

Remember you read a moment ago that tending the flock required lying across the doorway of the sheep pen? Well, Jesus did exactly that—He became the door for us (John 10:9). He sacrificed His life for the great flock of humanity so that anyone who chooses to believe in Him may enter God’s fold (John 3:16). And once inside, we are provided for, sought when we wander, and protected from enemies.

Jesus sees Himself as mankind’s Shepherd. Thankfully, we are more than just a herd to Him. He knows everything about each one of us—our name, character, and flaws—and loves us despite all of our imperfections. What better way to show love in return than to know His voice and follow wherever it leads us?

Bible in One Year: Acts 5-7

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Confident Hope

 

Read: Philippians 1:19–26 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 50; Hebrews 8

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Dr. William Wallace was serving as a missionary surgeon in Wuzhou, China, in the 1940s when Japan attacked China. Wallace, who was in charge of Stout Memorial Hospital at the time, ordered the hospital to load his equipment on barges and continue to function as a hospital while floating up and down rivers to avoid infantry attacks.

During dangerous times, Philippians 1:21—one of Wallace’s favorite verses—reminded him that if he lived, he had work to do for the Savior; but if he died, he had the promise of eternity with Christ. The verse took on special meaning when he died while falsely imprisoned in 1951.

Paul’s writing reflects a deep devotion we can aspire to as followers of Jesus, enabling us to face trials and even danger for His sake. It is devotion enabled by the Holy Spirit and the prayers of those closest to us (v. 19). It’s also a promise. Even when we surrender ourselves to continued service under difficult circumstances, it is with this reminder: when our life and work end here, we still have the joy of eternity with Jesus ahead of us.

In our hardest moments, with hearts committed to walking with Christ now, and with our eyes firmly fixed on the promise of eternity with Him, may our days and our acts bless others with the love of God.

Make of me, Father, a willing servant in times of weakness and times of strength.

Sacrifices offered to God are opportunities to showcase His love.

By Randy Kilgore

INSIGHT

When a believer dies, we often comfort the grieving with these words: “He/she is now home with the Lord.” Paul affirmed this same certainty when he boldly declared that when he dies he will “depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23). Paul’s assurance is built upon the very words of our Lord Jesus. As Christ was dying on the cross for our sins, He promised the believing thief, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

What do we know about heaven? Paul saw it, but wasn’t permitted to say anything about it (2 Corinthians 12:3–4), and John saw it but only cryptically described it in Revelation 21–22. But when Jesus described it as “my Father’s home” (John 14:2 nlt), He spoke of the welcome, warmth, and intimacy we’ll find there with Him.

For further reading on heaven, see Our Eternal Home at discoveryseries.org/rd911.

  1. T. Sim

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Above the Clouds

 

Job 37:21

When you read a verse like the one above from Job, you may begin to wonder what was going on with Job and his friends to bring up such a conversation.

These guys said to Job, “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised?… Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?… Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean.” In other words, “Job, you don’t know enough to understand God’s ways.”

Then God answered Job (chapters 38–41; read it sometime—it’s beautiful). God said that he is the one who has created everything the way it is. God sees the sun even when to us it is covered by clouds. Now Job knows he can hear from God. He can understand what God is doing in the world when he learns to consider that God’s perspective is so different from ours.

Do you want to hear from God and see his bigger perspective? You can if you will pray with all your heart and ask God to show you his plan and his way.

Dear Lord, I know you made everything, understand everything, yet you want to talk with me. You give me understanding. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – First Response

 

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You… — Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Sometimes I marvel at how long we can struggle in a situation before we think to talk to God about it and listen for His voice. We complain about our problems; we grumble; we murmur; we tell our friends; and we talk about how we wish God would do something about it.

We struggle with situations in our minds and in our emotions, while we often fail to take advantage of the simplest solution there is: prayer. But worse than that, we then make perhaps the most ridiculous statement known to man: “Well, I guess all I can do is pray.”

I am sure you have heard that before, and maybe you have even said it. We all have. We are all guilty of treating prayer as a last-ditch effort and saying things like, “Well, nothing else is working, so maybe we should pray.”

Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that we really do not believe in the power of prayer as we should. We carry burdens we do not need to bear—and life is much harder than it has to be—because we do not realize how powerful prayer is.

If we did, we would talk to God and listen to what He says about everything, not as a last resort, but as a first response.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take a moment right now to pray for the needs in my life. I know that You love me, You see what I’m going through, and You delight in helping me. Please help me to always run to You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Living the Godly Life

 

“As God’s messenger I give each of you God’s warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3).

A newly appointed director of affairs for our ministry came to me for counsel after being given his assignment. “Tell me,” he inquired, “what are the biggest problems that I will encounter in my new area of responsibility?”

“Three major ones,” I responded. “First, pride, the problem that causes Satan to seek a place of authority over God Himself, resulting in his expulsion from the heavenly kingdom. Since creation, man’s greatest problem has been pride – thinking more highly of oneself than one ought to think.

“Your second problem will be materialism – the desire to accumulate wealth, to live the good life, to keep up with the Joneses with better houses, cars, clothes, and security.

“And the third problem will be sex, the temptation to immorality. Man’s second greatest drive after self-perservation is sex. In the marriage bond, sex is one of the most beautiful of the God-given privileges. But out of marriage, it results in grieving and quenching the Spirit and, ultimately, in the discipline of God. Therefore, be faithful to the wife that God has given you and love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

“Keep yourself humble by God’s power. Seek the simple life and be motivated and constrained by the love of God for the souls of men, rather than for the good things of this world.”

This is my counsel to all of our staff. It is my message to all Christian leaders and to all who seek to live godly lives.

The highways and byways of the world are littered with men and women of great talent and ability who are no longer being used of God. The fire has gone out of their hearts; the smile is gone from their faces. They harvest no fruit for the kingdom. They have fallen, thinking more highly of themselves than they ought to think, after the example of Satan, the author of pride.

God’s Word admonishes us to think soberly, wisely, prudently and modestly. The faith which we each have is a gift from God, measure by Him. That fact alone should produce in you and me a true, humility, changing any feeling of pride to one of gratitude. The truly humble person regards God as the source of all blessings.

Bible Reading:Ephesians 4:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: When the temptation comes to think more highly of myself than I ought to think, with God’s help I will remember that everything I have is a gift of His grace. I will humble myself before God and man and, by faith, live a supernatural, godly life, dedicated to the extension of His kingdom

 

http://www.cru.org